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The Sky Sports Fantasy Football window will soon slam shut, as the international break ends and the first overhaul of the season ends on Saturday.
Our communities and social media have been awash with team tweaks, and template choices featuring the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Ederson have emerged.
But if you are looking for more left-field picks, who could be solid bets?
This year’s Sky game presents a variety of options at different price points. In our first Sky differential piece of the season, we look at some overhaul options.
Instead of the weekly Differential XI series, this year we plan to bring you more long-term picks, taking the approach most transfer-savvy managers would follow.
As ever, get involved in our Sky Fantasy Slack Channel or comment below and let us know which picks make your teams stand out from the crowd.
Goalkeepers – budget and premium picks
Thanks to Liverpool stopper Allison’s injury, City keeper Ederson is by far the most popular keeper in the game (29%). Jordan Pickford and David de Gea are the only others to attract more than ten per cent ownership.
With Ederson perhaps most fancied to pick up clean sheet points, a look at the bonus tables shows potential alternatives.
According to our Opta stats, Tim Krul, Hugo Lloris and Nick Pope top the pile for goalkeeper bonus points with eight apiece – three ahead of the chasing pack which includes Ederson.
Norwich have conceded a chart-topping ten so far this season, so discounting Krul and his slim hope of a clean sheet we are left with a budget and a premium pick.
Pope (£6.5m/2.75%) has one clean sheet and save bonuses in three of four games, averaging 3.08 points. He has an inviting run of fixtures which could well yield a combination of clean sheets and bonus points.
Lloris (£7.3m/5.8%) cannot boast a clean sheet to his name so far. Save points, however, have seen him return three lots of four points, while a trio of fixtures of Southampton, Brighton and Watford from September 28 could soon see the Frenchman make up for his lack of shut-outs.
Defenders – an old faithful and eyes on the press conferences
An injury question mark over Chelsea’s Emerson Palmieri (£7.9m/0.84%) is a real shame for differential hunters. Seemingly secure as manager Frank Lampard’s left-back choice, he had amassed two tackle bonuses, a shots bonus and passing points. Keep an eye on his manager’s press conference for clues over his international injury. The player said it was ‘nothing serious’ but doubts remain over his readiness for the weekend.
Perhaps more likely to feature this weekend is City’s Nicolas Otamendi (£8.8m/2.53%). Injuries in his team’s defensive ranks point to a greater chance of the old Sky faithful reemerging as a potential star. Experienced managers will recall his Laporte-like reliability for passing points – and even the odd goal.
And completing our defensive differential trio is Everton’s Yerry Mina (£7.8m/2.46%), who might be feeling unlucky not to have grabbed a goal last time out against Wolves. Three shots, two of which on target, saw the Columbian pick up a shots bonus. A chance of the odd passing point, like he picked up against Palace in GW1, are also a possibility. City loom in three weeks’ time but otherwise, the upcoming fixtures are decent for the Toffees.
Midfielders – early captaincy and Hammers alternative
Bournemouth’s Harry Wilson (£7.3m/3.95%) offers a budget route into the Cherries lineup, covering the tricky Friday night captaincy in GW7. The Welshman was rested against City in GW3 before scoring a stunning free kick – so beware of rotation. Those that back him early doors may be rewarded, though, with a goal, MOTM and shots bonus in a 13-point haul against Aston Villa a taster of his potential. Consider dovetailing him with the more popular Mason Mount, whose club Chelsea face a tough next two fixtures.
Our second pick is West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini (£7.9m/1.98%). He has assisted twice in four games, returning a modest 14 points. The Hammers have made an attacking start to the campaign, fourth in the Premier League’s shots on target table. New striker Sebastien Haller features below in our striker choices but if managers don’t want to sacrifice a striker spot on a cut-price forward, could the Argentine – who has 20 goals in 102 league appearances – be a different way into the London club’s attack?
Forwards – time to respect a top goalscorer?
Haller (£8.2m) may be backed by more than the current 4.61 per cent of managers come the end of the overhaul. Three goals in three games, two shot bonuses and even a tackle bonus have amounted to an lightning start to his Premier League career. He is joint third with Sergio Aguero for shots on target (6) and lies joint second for big chances in the Opta table on four. He provides a potential captaincy option away to Aston Villa in GW6 and good fixtures through to early November.
Amid a flurry of striking options, selecting a Burnley strikers seems an unsexy pick. But the 2019 goalscoring record of Ashley Barnes (£8.9m/3.9%) speaks for itself. Just last month the nationals were pointing out it was only Sergio Aguero and Sadio Mane who had more goals this calendar year than the Clarets frontman. Barnes sits third for overall shots this season (15) and second for shots on target (8) behind Teemu Pukki. Three headed attempts sees him second for that stat, too. And in reality, he has four goals in four games this season.
Despite his stats, he currently barely scrapes more fantasy managers than an injured Anthony Martial. Is it time we took his goal threat more seriously?
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